Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Paula's Prompts

Back on August 9, 2017, P.T. Wyant posted a prompt for her Wednesday Words at It involved a hedge, a jar, and a ribbon.

At the same time, Dale Lowry shared a submission call for a wizard academy.

Wrapped up in preparations for my vacation, plus trying to get everything done, I never finished the submission, alas. I did come up with a tentative fragment of a story, thanks to Paula and Dale. Here it is...

The picture is one of the churches I visited in Trastevere, Rome during the beginning of September. This one I took myself. :)

“I’m going to find you!” Such a sweet, childish voice. I’d almost believe it belonged to an actual child, if I didn’t know better. “You can’t hide from me, Hyacinth!”

We’d see about that.

I untied the ribbon from my neck, feeling the energy release as the silky material unknotted. It pulsed across the land, humming to every magical creature trapped in a jar, a cage, or a prison at the Accademia de Valentine. 

How often had I tried to pull free the strands resting against my bare flesh, only to find my fingers fumbling, unable to work. 

On school grounds, everything bowed to the will of the maestro.

“Don’t ever try to untie it.” Tenderly, he’d fastened it around my neck himself. A sign of great favor among students. “This marks you as one of my own.”

He played with one end, raising it to his lips, before tucking it under my shirt. 

“I doubt you’ll want to.” His green eyes glinted with dark, creeping things which crawled in the hidden parts of the forest, where no one dared to stretch his hand. “If your heart should waver, the others here will sense it.” 

He pressed his finger against my skin, stroking it, digging his nail into my neck. 

Blood welled up under his digit. He withdrew his hand, raising it to his lips to taste the red droplet. 

“I’d rather not share you with anyone else.” Silent laughter gleamed in his eyes, gliding and keeping pace with everything else captured in his gaze. 

No one had dared to try. Not on school grounds. 

I dropped the ribbon into one pocket. 

Something growled and snuffled in the hedge. 

I’d become visible. All the creatures who prowled the edges of the school had caught my scent. 

Willing my hands not to shake, I lifted the jar from my pocket. 

Sigils surrounded the rim. They flared up for one moment, before dying. 

“Containment seals simply don’t last outside the accademia.” He’d lifted it to observe the pixie, fluttering around inside. “She reminds me a little of you, Hyacinthe.”

I stared at the tiny creature, beating her wings and tiny fists against the glass walls of her prison. 

Yes, her pinched face looked a bit like mine. What seemed the most alike was our desperation. 

Only she’d had a stronger will than I had. She’d kicked against the jar, making it rattle again and again. Never giving up. 

“Why not let her go?” The misery crumpling her tiny mouth, transmitted from her fluttering wings was unbearable. “If she desires her freedom this much, why not simply give it to her? You have lots of captive magical beasts.”

“Ah, but I can’t allow one to wander free at the Accademia.” The maestro let his mouth slacken with almost innocent shock. 

He appeared so young, younger than any of the students. Drinking in their experiences, their enthusiasm, imparting a little wisdom here, a little knowledge there, he drained everyone’s youth, leaving them haggard and lined, while his skin remained smooth, his eyes bright with childish cruelty. 

Not that he didn’t let his pupils depart, spreading his wisdom through the world. They withered everyone a little with the knowledge they spread, regaining a bit of their own spark in the process. 

Such is how things are at the Accademia. 

“Letting her go for set a bad example for all the students.” He allowed his green eyes to flicker over me, playful and malicious as a cat’s. “Especially you.”

“Forgive me,” I whispered to the spirit of the deceased pixie. I could breathe it in, clinging to the glass. Just one of the things I’d learned to taste at the Accademia. “One of us has to escape here.”

I unscrewed the jar, bracing myself for the backlash from the wards. 

Nothing. Perhaps some of the litte creature’s rebellious will lingered along with her spirit, protecting me. 

Why she’d decided to help a runaway student of the Accademia who’d caught her, I didn’t know. Perhaps she simply agreed with me.

One of us had to escape. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Me Me Monday

It's Me Me Monday for Queer Sci Fi on Facebook.

This poor little Cauldron may be blocked, but it would like to play, too. Here it is, offering the new blurb for Fairest, my f/f fantasy fairytale reborn!

All of my life, I’ve been haunted by her dark eyes. At birth, she cursed me to prick my finger on the spindle and sleep for a century. She appears in my dreams, my reflections, shaping my desires. Who is she? My guardian has only revealed a few enigmatic words as to her identity, the fairest of them all. Follow me into the lonely Forest of Tears where the dwarves dwell, walking where she once walked. Gaze into the depths of the magic mirror which reveals her secrets. For I refuse to fear her, even if I should. 

Fairest returns on November 20, 2017 in Nine Star Press's Once Upon a Rainbow anthology. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dayel's Discomfort, Part 8

It's QueerBlogWed! Disoriented, jet lagged from my journeys, I return to from being unplugged to blink at my Forbidden Cauldron, see where we last left off.

I set up the monster post to continue to cranking of Dayel's Discomfort in my absence. This should be the final part. :)

“No need to be modest!” Juno called after them. “I’m sure the ring would suit your hand very well, Danyel, dear!” Once more, she was all eager friendliness. “Be sure to come back if you change your minds!”

“Why did you do that?” Danyel demanded, but he let Dayel drag him through the crowds. “Something about that ring spoke me, almost sang in the back on my mind.” He glanced down at their interlocking fingers. “I’m almost sure I’ve seen it before.” His flesh trembled within Dayel’s grip. “It’s almost like it wanted me to want it.”

“Exercise your right of refusal to hungry…anythings…every once in a while!” Dayel growled. “A symbol of ritual bondage is not to be accepted lightly!”

Danyel’s breath caught in his throat.

“Ritual bondage,” he murmured to himself as much as his twin. “I think I know where I saw that ring.” He swallowed. “Christopher was wearing it.”

“All the more reason for you not to.” Dayel picked up speed, putting as much distance between Danyel and Juno’s booth as possible. “Don’t pick up any more rocks from the Shadow Forest. It only leads to trouble.”


Danyel stopped, planting his feet firmly in the ground. 

It forced Dayel to stop, too. If he didn’t, he’d be forced to let go of Danyel. 

He’d never do that. Never. 

Hands still entwined, he turned to face his twin. 

Their eyes met. 

Danyel’s, unlike Dayel’s, had no unearthly silver light, even if they were the same violet blue as his twin’s. 

The only thing they gleamed with was conviction. 

Not that that was something to be underestimated. 

“Picking up rocks is what I do.” Danyel swallowed, but he didn’t look away from his brother. “I don’t want to stop.”

It was Dayel who swallowed, whose gaze dropped to his feet. 

What could he say to that?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dayel's Discomfort, Part 7

I'm not currently here, but Danyel and Dayel continue their Monster Post, inspired by P.T. Wyant's August 2nd festival prompt at

“A marriage feast is different.” Danyel spoke to himself as much as to Juno and Map. Once more, he fixed his eyes upon the ring. “It lasts for only one night.”

“The best night of a boy’s life!” Juno returned her attention to Danyel, all smiles once more. “He’s pampered and treated like a godling, worshipped and admired by all around him, given anything his heart could desire.”

“Except more time.” Mel allowed a corner of her mouth to quirk upwards in an ironic smile. “A bride drains her chosen bridegroom of his strength and incipient manhood, leaving only a beautiful shell behind to stand in her garden.”

“Bridegrooms are never taken unwillingly.” Juno separated her hands. “Every boy dreams being a bridegroom. They gossip about their potential brides all the time, while growing up.” She wagged a finger at her daughter. “It’s a ritual unique to the arachnocratic lands, deserving of respect.”

Danyel reached a hand towards the sparkling stone. 

No. Bad things happened with Danyel touched things. 

Dayel reached out and swatted his brother’s hand away before he could lay a finger on the ring. 

Danyel turned towards him, a protest on his lips. 

Dayel seized his hand firmly in his own. He laid a finger from his free hand upon his brother’s mouth, silencing him. 

“Jewelry ill becomes Danyel.” He turned his head to lock his gaze with Juno’s. 

Yes, he could see some of the wrinkles on her face opening to reveal tiny eyes. Each orb stared at him. 

Dayel stared back, willing whatever scary, glittering thing that lived within his own eyeballs to meet that inhuman gaze. 

“That particular ring doesn’t belong on my brother’s hand.” He could feel the brightness in irises flare with his own fear. 

Juno closed her additional eyes, dazzled by whatever she saw in Dayel’s. 

He pulled his twin away from the booth and started walking, keeping a firm grip on his twin’s hand. 

He could sense Mel’s silent approval, beating at his back. If he turned, Dayel guessed she’d be trying not to grin and failing. 

To be continued on Wednesday, September 20, 2017....

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Dayel's Discomfort, Part 6

I'm currently not here, but Danyel and Dayel are continuing the monster post, inspired by P.T. Wyant's festival prompt at

“Marriage is a commitment to unite two houses, those houses’s combined family lines.” Juno clasped her hands together. “Marriage unites a man and a woman’s fortunes and hearts, making them as one.” She raised her hands to her lips. “Husband and wife vow to pass these things down to their children, the ones they raise together.” 

She unknotted her hands, which trembled. 

“That is what marriage is or what it should be.” She waved in dismissive scorn at her daughter, rings flashing. “Anything else is a pale imitation of that!”

Juno cast a withering glance in the direction of Leiwell’s booth. 
No, not Leiwell. Map. 

Map had turned away from the fire. A smile tugged at her wrinkled face as she greeted the booth’s visitor. 

It was Ashleigh. Leiwell, Danyel, and Dayel’s other mother, who’d stopped by in making her rounds of the festival. She’d been one of the villagers who organized it. 

A cap with a feather in it perched on her golden head at a jaunty angle, Ashleigh leaned against the booth, smiling at Map. The two women looked into each other’s eyes. 

Juno’s lower lip trembled at bit. She looked away, down at the jewelry in front of her. 

It wasn’t the first time she’d given the boys’s mothers such angry looks. For the first time, Dayel understood why. 

Map lived with Ashleigh, the boys’s other mother. She’d rasied Leiwell, Dayel, and Danyel by herself without the help of this marriage. 

In many ways, Map and Ashleigh practiced marriage exactly as Juno described. They shared everything, although they were hardly one. 

They were two women, not a man and a woman, though. 

Ridiculous. Juno had no right to judge. She was hardly living her own ideal. She and Jupitre failed to live as one as spectacularly as Ashleigh and Juno did. 

There was only one way to become one that Dayel knew of. Get devoured by a shadow. 

Perhaps the arachnocratic brides were closer to being one with their bridegrooms than a husband and wife ever could be. 

Dayel tried not to shudder. He really didn’t want to hear anything more about marriage feasts. 

Alas, there was no stopping Danyel, once his curiousity was roused. 

To be continued on Wednesday, September 6, 2017...